The National Merit Scholarship Corporation officials announced 16,000 semifinalists' names in the 66th annual National Merit Scholarship Program on Sept. 9, and among them was Christopher Montford, of Dodge City High School.

This means that Montford has been added to an elite list of students who demonstrated exceptional academic ability and potential for success in rigorous college studies.

"Which is a pretty big deal, we haven’t had that in 15 years," said Kerri Baker, Dodge City Unified School District 443 public information officer.

Students are selected based on their individual performance on the Preliminary SAT (PSAT) test the year prior.

"Being recognized as a National Merit semifinalist is a great honor for Christopher," said Jacque Feist, principal of Dodge City High School. "It is also an honor for our school and our teachers. Congratulations to Christopher and his family."

Christopher Montford is the son of John and Esperanza Montford.

Montford intends to submit a scholarship application to advance to the finalist level and he will be notified of this designation in February.

All National Merit Scholarship winners will be selected from this group of finalists.

All Merit Scholar designees are selected based on their skills, accomplishments and potential for success in rigorous college studies, without regard to or discrimination of gender, race, ethnic origin or religious preference.